Interview Series / Pregnant Athletes

UMR’s Interview Series: Emma Barclay

Fifth in our interview series is Emma Barclay, an ultrarunner from Falmouth, Maine. Emma, who was 33 weeks pregnant at the time of this interview, has finished Vermont 100 miler (2013) in 20:52, earning her 4th woman. In 2009 she had a sub-8 hour finish at Pineland Farms 50 miler (2009) earning her 2nd woman. Just 4 weeks after running Boston Marathon, Emma PR’d at Sugarloaf Marathon (2005), finishing in 3:13 and placing 3rd woman.


Before becoming pregnant, what was your life as an athlete like?  I was competitive and training for ultras. The bulk of my training was on trails. I usually would do one 50 miler a year. I would run long on the weekends with my husband.

How is training going while pregnant?  Training is going well, still managing to get out 4 days a week which is what I’d run before getting pregnant. I’ve been doing solely roads as we had a lot of snow in Maine this year I figured it was safer to run roads. I’ve been wearing the Gabrialla Maternity Belt when running and had minimal round ligament pain (so far).

National snowshoes champs

What has been the biggest change you’ve experienced running while pregnant?  More breathless especially going uphills, also it takes a lot longer to recover from long runs. Needing to pee all the time. Now I’m at 33 weeks the mid week 4 mile runs are becoming a struggle.

What has motivated you to continue running through pregnancy?  Beyond a doubt this group, it’s been great motivation seeing what all the other preggo women have been doing. Also I don’t want to lose too much fitness while being pregnant as I still plan to run and race after the baby is born.

TARC Half -  8 months pregnant

TARC Half, 8 months pregnant

What are your current training/racing ambitions for 2014?  I’d like to do a trail 50k in October, a half marathon in the Fall and Hellgate 100k in December but we’ll see I’m not sure how I’m going to balance training and raising a baby, luckily I’ve got a super supportive husband who also runs so he totally gets it.

Any advice you have for other pregnant runners trying to balance it all?  Don’t worry about your pace just run by feel. Bear in mind it will take longer to recover from longer runs the further along you get. Schedules races throughout your pregnancy to help motivate you. Plan routes where you know there is easy access to woods for pee stops and always run with toilet paper.


Interested in sharing your experience for our Athlete-Mom Interview Series? Contact Lacy at


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